News Dino Rossi. A Follow-Up Report
posted by July 9 at 15:13 PMon
In Counter•Intel last week, I caught Dino Rossi trying to play fast and loose with AP reporter Dave Ammons.
Here’s the deal, the Democrats had filed a complaint against Rossi’s non-profit, Forward Washington, alleging that it was a shadow campaign organization. Non-profits cannot do partisan campaign work—although, they can receive unlimited and undisclosed donations (making it great for raising campaign cash if you can get away with it.)
Anyway, when AP reporter Dave Ammons interviewed Rossi about this controversy—the Seattle Times had even editorialized that Rossi’s “non-partisan” group didn’t pass the “smirk test”—Ammons astutely asked Rossi what he was up to that day. Turns out Rossi was heading to Yakima to speak at a GOP fundraiser for state Republican Senator Jim Clements. Acknowledging as much wouldn’t have looked so good in a story where questions were being raised about Rossi’s partisan activities, however. So, Rossi told Ammons he was on his way to a to an “Idea Bank” —one of Forward Washington’s “non-partisan” events. Rossi hit Pullman, the day after the Yakima fundraiser, for his “Idea Bank.”
I called Forward Washington to ask about the discrepancy and, as I reported in my column, they told me Ammons misquoted them. Ammons got it mixed up.
I couldn’t reach Ammons last week to get his side of the story because he was on vacation. However, I reached him today. I didn’t think a longtime AP reporter would want to duke it out with Rossi, but I’ll be damned: Ammons wasn’t about to let Rossi rope-a-dope him.
Ammons told me: “He said he was on his way to an idea bank. He was on his way to Yakima. Then he went on about what a non-partisan thing this was with Lou Guzzo [former D Governor Dixy Lee Ray staffer] on the board. He never mentioned going to a campaign event. If he did not set foot in Yakima for that reason, he never clarified. The most I will concede is he might have been less than clear.”
Ammons went further, seconding a point I had made in the column. “He’s salaried, $75,000, by Forward Washington. His time is compensated. Was the whole trip East [including the campaigning in Yakima] charged back to Forward Washington?”